German high-end automaker BMW looks back on the most successful business quarter in its history. The sporty Bavarian carmaker reported an unprecedented rise in profit and sales in the first three months of the year.
Munich-based BMW posted an 18.1-percent increase in net profit for the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same period a year ago, the company announced on Thursday, once again keeping arch-rivals Audi and Daimler at bay in the luxury car segment.
BMW's first-quarter earnings totaled 1.35 billion euros ($1.77 billion). Revenues rose 14 percent to 18.29 billion euros and sales worldwide were up 11 percent to 425,528 units.
"With new sales and profit records logged for January to March, we've achieved the best ever first-quarter results in all of our history," Chief Executive Norbert Reithofer said in a statement on Thursday.
Soaring demand in China
Top performers in the period were BMW's new versions of the 1-series compact and the X3 SUV. Also contributing to growth were the larger X5 SUV and the 7-series sedan.
BMW saw a staggering 36-percent jump in deliveries to China where it now sells more vehicles than in the United States. Sales in crisis-stricken Europe, however, edged up a mere 0.5 percent in the first quarter.
The German automaker produces cars under the BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce brands. It also sells BMW and Husqvarna motorcycles. BMW Chief Reithofer said all brands were well positioned to keep up the momentum for the rest of the year.
"For the whole of 2012, we are aiming for new sales and profit records," Reithofer said in Munich.
hg/gb (dpa, AP, Reuters)